© Jessica King, Marine Photobank
Bags of shark fins at a shark wholesaler store. It is estimated that many tens of millions of sharks are killed each year solely for their fins.
While shark meat is popular in many markets, it is the large and growing demand for shark fin soup – an Asian delicacy that can sell for as much as $100 a bowl – that is now driving fisheries for the species. Many shark populations are already in significant decline, in large part due to the high numbers caught unintentionally in other fisheries combined with the species exceptionally low reproductive potential. The decline in many of the world’s sharks presents a food security issue in some regions and, because of their role as an apex predator, is expected to have significant impacts on marine food webs.